Pilot and Feasibility Program

The primary objective of the Pilot & Feasibility Grant Program is to support the development of innovative research in nutrition and obesity. The program is specifically designed to help investigators collect preliminary data sufficient enough to support a grant application for independent research support and published work.

Project Criteria
Pilot & Feasibility (P&F) projects may be biomedical, epidemiological, clinical or translational. They may include laboratory or non-laboratory research projects that focus either on human nutrition or on animal work that could be translated to human nutrition. Human nutrition projects may focus on inpatient or outpatient studies or on epidemiological/community-based research that is social or behavioral in nature.

Applicant Eligibility
The applicants must be a faculty member at UNC-CH who is a (1) a new investigator without current or past NIH research support (R01, P01 or R24) as a PD/PI, or (2) an established, funded investigator with no previous work experience in nutritional sciences, and/or obesity who wishes to test the applicability of their expertise to a nutritional science and/or obesity-related problem

The NORC funds 1-year grants up to $20,000. The actual amount of the award and number of awards made will depend upon the quality of the proposals received and the availability of funding.  Expenditures may begin at any time after the project’s start date (April 1st); however, the entire award should be expended within one year of receipt. Renewal for a second year of funding is possible for meritorious projects that have made appropriate progress during the first year. P&F funding is not intended for the extension of projects for which it would be appropriate to submit a research project grant application. Funds are also not intended to support or supplement ongoing research projects.

Application Process
Pre-Proposal: Applicants must submit a pre-proposal application and an NIH-style biosketch to the selection committee. The pre-proposal should exactly follow the format that is given on the application form. Pre-proposals are limited to one page and should be written in Ariel 11 font. Please send the requested documentation to Michelle Collins via email.  The review committee will evaluate the pre-proposals and notify all applicants of their decision. Selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal.

Application Package: Applicants are required to use the NIH PHS 398 grant forms where appropriate. Proposals must be single-spaced and use an approved 11 point, NIH font type (Arial, Helvetica, Palatino or Georgia). A complete application package should include the following items:

  •     Application cover sheet
  •     Scientific and lay abstracts
  •     Research plan
  •     Budget & budget justification
  •     Biosketch & other support
  •     Letter(s) of support
  •     Appendices (if needed)

P&F Awardees

2013 Awardees

Melissa Bauserman, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Department of of Pediatrics
Project: Determining the etiology of early infant stunting


Brian Bennett, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of  Genetics
Project: High resolution genetic mapping of trimethylamine N-oxide, a novel metabolite associated with atherosclerosis


Shawn Gomez, EngScD 
Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Project: Systems biology of metabolism and metabolic networks


Amanda Thompson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
Project: The development of the intestinal microbiome and SFCA production in Chinese infants


 2012 Awardees

Michelle Mendez, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition
Project: Prenatal exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and  risk of obesity and suboptimal metabolic function


Praveen Sethupathy, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics
Project:  An in vivo investigation of the role of microRNA-27b in controlling systemic lipid levels


Abbie Smith, PhD, CSCS, CISSN
Assistant Professor, Department of Exercise and Sports Science
Project: The acute effects of high intensity interval training on body composition, and metabolic and cardiovascular health in  overweight/obese men and women


For specific questions regarding the P&F Program, please contact:
Rosalind A. Coleman MD, Director of Pilot & Feasibility Program
Departments of Nutrition & Pediatrics
T: (919) 966-7213
E: rcoleman@unc.edu

For general questions regarding the P&F Program, please contact:
Michelle Collins, MPA, Managing Director
Department of Nutrition
T: (919) 966-3474
E: mcc@email.unc.edu